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Philosophy 201 Guidelines

Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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Infinity and Kalam

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  • #16
    Originally posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Yep. I don't disagree with any of this. I said, "An infinite regress of equal, arbitrary, finite, non-zero events is an actual infinite." That's an actual infinite. I'm not talking about a dynamic, growing potentially infinite series of events extending into the past. It's being supposed to be actually infinite for reductio.
    This does not address the issue that our physical existence is possibly potentially infinite by definition.



    If the past is beginningless, the events of the past could be put into a one-to-one correspondence with the series of natural numbers.
    The artificial construct that 'the events of the past could be put into a one-to-one correspondence with the series of natural numbers.' is not reality.
    Simply as Aristotle proposed the nature of our existence is 'potentially infinite' as cited. No matter how far you attempt to go in the past you can always go further. This is true in space nor a hypothetical time reference.


    I'm not talking about science. I'm not talking about metaphysics.
    . . . but your trying put limits on the physical and/or time extent of our physical existence by metaphysical assumptions and that does not work.

    The problem remains this is an a priori assumption that our physical existence is finite, because actual infinities are metaphysically impossible, and not the fact that our physical existence is 'potentially infinite.'

    Again as Aristotle proposed is still relevant.

    Going all the way back to Aristotle there are two distinct 'infinities:' Actual Infinities and Potential Infinities.
    Aristotle's potential–actual distinction

    Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=potential+infinity+vs+actual+infinity&oq=potential+infinity&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l7.14758j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8



    He distinguished between actual and potential infinity. Actual infinity is completed and definite, and consists of infinitely many elements. Potential infinity is never complete: elements can be always added, but never infinitely many.

    Also . . .

    According to Aristotle, actual infinities cannot exist because they are paradoxical. ... Aristotle argued that actual infinity as it is not applicable to geometry and the UNIVERSAL, is not relevant to mathematics, making potential infinity all that actually is important.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Last edited by shunyadragon; 09-16-2020, 09:10 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by mattbballman31 View Post
      Actual infinites are metaphysically impossible.

      An infinite regress of equal, arbitrary, finite, non-zero events is an actual infinite.

      There can't be a regress of this kind into the past.

      The past had a beginning.

      Something had to cause the beginning.

      Q.E.D. That's something that everyone would call 'God'.
      So god is not infinite? How do you differentiate and so claim that the one, i.e. god, the acts of god, can be infinite in extent, but the Cosmos, i.e. the actions therein, can not be?

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by mattbballman31 View Post
        Hilbert's Hotel, Infinite Library cases, Tristram Shandy paradoxes, the impossibility of counting to/from infinity, Grim Reaper paradoxes, Benedarte's paradox of the gods, Benedarte's Peals Case, Al-Ghazali's Rotating Planets, Thompson's Lamp, Marble Shifter Case, etc . . .
        Okay, so actual infinities are not necessarily impossible, just counterintuitive. But a universe with a beginning is counterintuitive, too, so there isn't much to choose between one and the other.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by mattbballman31 View Post

          A spaceless, timeless, immaterial, personal, powerful, intelligent agent would constitute a set of properties of a substance whose definite description picks out that Being that only God could exemplify. That conjunction of properties could only be jointly exemplified by God.
          I understand why a first cause would need those properties in order to be God (but did you not forget necessarily existing, a key property?) But why would a first cause need all of those properties in order to be a first cause? For instance, why would a first cause need properties like personal or intelligent?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by crepuscule View Post

            I understand why a first cause would need those properties in order to be God (but did you not forget necessarily existing, a key property?) But why would a first cause need all of those properties in order to be a first cause? For instance, why would a first cause need properties like personal or intelligent?
            Actually all this argument for a 'first cause' is too mechanistic an approach to justify the existence of God. Actual infinities are useful in math, but are meaningless to propose whether our physical existence is finite or infinite. Regardlees our physical existence is potentially infinite whether it is or not.

            From the Baha'i perspective God and our Created physical existence as the reflection of the attributes of God are mutually infinite and eternal. I am not saying at this point this is an argument for the existence of God, but the present argument fails..
            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

            go with the flow the river knows . . .

            Frank

            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Stoic View Post

              Okay, why are actual infinities metaphysically meaningless?
              . . . because there are not any metaphysical conclusions that can be derived from a math concept, that is simply derived for the use of humans like all math. As Aristotle concluded our physical existence is potentially infinite. Important is 'potentially,' because there is no falsifiable hypothesis that could determine whether our physical is finite nor infinite.

              devloped for human use
              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

              go with the flow the river knows . . .

              Frank

              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

                . . . because there are not any metaphysical conclusions that can be derived from a math concept, that is simply derived for the use of humans like all math. As Aristotle concluded our physical existence is potentially infinite. Important is 'potentially,' because there is no falsifiable hypothesis that could determine whether our physical is finite nor infinite.

                devloped for human use
                It seems like the impossibility of actual infinities would be metaphysically meaningful, in that it would entail a finite past.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                  It seems like the impossibility of actual infinities would be metaphysically meaningful, in that it would entail a finite past.
                  The actually infinity as defined is a closed set of infinity, and could only exist within a greater whole. Math has been a tool for practical reasons, science and technology, and nothing to do with metaphysics. Even if billions of actual infinities could exist in our physical existence it could still be potentially infinite.

                  Aristotle was the first to define infinities, and his conclusion was that actual infinities do not exist at all and potential infinities were the bottom line. I already described this in detail before.
                  Last edited by shunyadragon; 09-29-2020, 08:30 AM.
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                    I'm more concerned with claims that the extent of time and space cannot be an actual infinite.
                    I believe I have explained the problem the best I could .Actual infinity is a closed set of infinites, but cannot be objectively distinguished from potential infinity from the human perspective. Being 'Metaphysically Impossible' is sort of an odd oxymoron, that does not have any relevance as to whether our universe is infinite or not.

                    Source: https://math.vanderbilt.edu/schectex/courses/thereals/potential.html



                    Nearly all research-level mathematicians today (I would guess 99.99% of them) take for granted both "potential" and "completed" infinity, and most probably do not even know the distinction indicated by those two terms. Some of these mathematicians may be impatient with the few students who still have difficulty with completed infinities. But their impatience is not justified; they are forgetting what difficulty the mathematical community had in reaching its present perspective. Completed infinity has only been part of mainstream mathematics since the work of Georg Cantor (1845-1918), and his ideas initially were met with resistance, because they were not supported by what we see in the physical world around us. Before Cantor's time, mathematicians had struggled with the notion of infinity for many centuries, mostly without success. Indeed, the fact that the ancient Greeks turned to geometry rather than algebra can be attributed in part to the difficulty they had with infinite processes. For instance, the square root of two can be constructed geometrically in just a few steps, but to define it algebraically takes some understanding of an infinite procedure.

                    Infinity cannot be experienced in our everyday lives, but infinity might be a good "approximation" to some of the quantities that we read about in the news. There are 7 billion people in the world, and the annual national budget is several trillion dollars, and the national debt is many trillions of dollars; all of these numbers are much bigger than most of us -- even mathematicians -- have any real feeling about. And the number of atoms in the earth is much much bigger than trillions; I don't even know the name for that number. But still these numbers are finite.

                    Nor can we experience the infinitely small in our lives. In fact, the currently prevailing theories of quantum physics tell us that there is a lower limit, a smallest physical object.

                    © Copyright Original Source




                    Mechanistic math concepts cannot remotely define the limits of our physical existence. We cannot even falsify whether our physical existence is finite nor infinite from the human perspective. As a side note math functions perfectly well without using infinities.

                    Do you really think it is possible to metaphysically define the limits of our physical existence?

                    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                    go with the flow the river knows . . .

                    Frank

                    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                    Comment

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